How cold before dogs come in the house

Pooh BearNovember 25, 2012

Our two dogs are outside dogs. The female lab/boxer can't be bribed to come in the house. The male mastiff(?) mix(?) will come in but won't stay without her. Neither one will go in a dog house. They do have shelter from wind and rain. If I forcibly bring the female in the house it seems like it traumatizes her. But I hate for them to be outside on these cold nights. It was in the mid to high 20's last night. It rarely gets down to the low 20's or below. I worried about them last night. When they were young they loved staying in the house. Their first year they spent every cold night inside. Now they prefer the back porch.

How cold before I make them stay in the house.

Should I make them stay in the house on cold nights.

Pooh Bear

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Anything below freezing, I'd bring them in.
How old are these dogs, and is the lab/boxer more lab than boxer? Boxers tend to be very cold natured and they don't have much hair to keep their body insulated.

Do you have a garage you could put them in? If the female is truly traumatized I suggest enclosing the section of the porch they prefer, then giving them heated pads to sleep on.... one of the many heated beds that are available (see link).

But, before doing all that, I'd bring them in on cold nights and give them a quiet area so they don't have to deal with the indoor noises and surroundings of your home. Also place rugs on the floor if you have tile or hardwood since a slick, hard floor is enough to freak out dogs that have never been indoors.

Here is a link that might be useful: Heated bed

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 5:58PM
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Pooh Bear

Homer is about 3 years old. Sophie is about 2 years old.
Homer doesn't seem to mind cold that much. He is a large dog.
Sophie looks like a cool wind would freeze her.

It's not supposed to be so bad tonight. We are going to look
into closing in part of the porch for them tomorrow.
There is a 4x8ft alcove on the back porch that is already
closed in on 3 sides. If we close in that 4th side the dogs
would be able to get completely out of the wind. It would
be like a big doghouse or small room.

We do have a garage but they have to go through the house
to get in it. They stay in a huge fenced back yard.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 9:07PM
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Since you may enclose the porch, be sure to draft-proof the floor. Cardboard and a thick layer of hay would be a good insulator.....or maybe some carpet remnants.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 12:58AM
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Pooh Bear

Last nite was in the low to mid 40's so they stayed outside.
We did almost get Sophie to come in. Apparently she doesn't
like these slick floors. We put down some old blankets and
she would almost come all the way in the door. Homer came in
and ran straight for the bedroom. He remembers where to go.
But he kept coming back trying to get her to follow him.
The next couple of nights are going to be cold again so we are
going to have to (gently) make Sophie come in.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 3:14PM
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Glad to hear you're getting them inside. Try using rugs that have a rubber backing for her to walk on since blankets slide around on hardwood and she'll feel very unstable.

It's important not to make coming into the house a big deal for Sophie. The more you baby her and give her treats for staying outside the door, the more reluctant she'll be to come in.
I would put her on a leash, walk around the yard (you can give treats during the walk if you want), then have someone open the door and you walk straight in with Sophie. Don't talk and don't say a word to her, just look straight ahead and continue walking straight into the house as though you do it every day with her. If she stops, turn around, walk around the yard some more and try again.

If you don't see improvement and you're running out of patience, just pick her up and bring her in. : )

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 5:16PM
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Pooh Bear

She came in on her own !!
We put some old blankets down and placed them through the
doorway and a little bit on the porch so Sophie could get used
to their texture. I left the door open and was sitting inside
petting Homer and she just came on in. We gave her (and Homer)
some special treats and closed the door for about 20 minutes.
Then we opened the door so they could go get water.
I'm hopeful she will come in again tonight.

Putting a lease on Sophie is harder than putting a lease on
a 75 pound wiggle worm on crack. She goes nuts.

Maybe they would go in a 4x6 or 4x8 dog house.
One big enough for them to have plenty of room.

Pooh Bear

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 5:49PM
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Well, it sounds like you're being successful in getting Sophie inside! Congrats!

The alcove should work if closed in, and some heated beds added, but not sure how easily you could use the door/back area. I still worry about Sophie with that short coat of hers.

I wouldn't put money on your dogs using a dog house that sits separately from the house. They're used to sleeping on the porch and that's what they're going to continue to use. I've never seen dogs actually use a dog house unless they were tied to it. Even the fox hounds my uncle used to keep would sleep everywhere except in the dog house.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 9:38PM
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Pooh Bear

She came in again tonight right after dark.
She still looks nervous but this time she layed down for a while.
We let her back out when she was ready (Homer went too).
Tonight at bedtime we will get both of them in the house,
and she will just have to stay all night. So far she won't
step off the blankets, but Homer goes everywhere.

I'm thinking a large doghouse that would set on the back porch.
There is a spot large enough to accommodate a small playhouse.
I just don't see them using a doghouse. They like the porch.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 11:20PM
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Pooh Bear

They did great last night. We let them in at bedtime.
Sophie stayed on the blankets we put down in the floor.
Homer came back to bedroom and jumped up in the middle of the bed.
I told him "Get down. Go stay with Sophie." and he did.
They slept in the kitchen all night. Not a single problem.
Hope it goes this well tonight.

We have an old rug in the garage and we are just gonna put it
down in front of the sliding glass door for Sophie. The rug
will stay in place better than blankets and give her more room.
Now that we know it is the floor making her not want to come
in we can do something about it. Thanks for all the help.

Pooh Bear

Puppy Pictures of Sophie

Pictures of Homer at 6 months

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:26AM
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Well, you put a smile on my face this morning! Everyone sleeps better when they're toasty warm! :)
Glad I could be of help and thanks for posting the updates.

Try posting the pics again. They're not showing and I'd love to see your fur-babies!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 12:27PM
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Pooh Bear

A couple of pics of Sophie when she was a puppy.

And Homer when he was about 15 months old.

That's a fun way to wake up when a 100 pound dog jumps
up on the bed and stands on you licking you in the face.
But Homer loves me. And we love our furbabies.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 1:39PM
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I have been following your story, and have to say I am so happy to hear you were successful! Your babies are beautiful and you must be so relieved to know they will be warm this winter. I bet you wont have to "fight" with Sophie for very long once she gets used to a warm place to sleep each night ;)

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 2:37PM
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Counter conditioning, classical conditioning and desensitizing are much better than flooding. I'm glad you were able to slowly condition Sophie to coming in the house. I'm the both of you feel better now.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 10:10PM
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I am glad you were able to get Sophie inside. I just wanted to let you know that stores like Home Depot and Lowes sell rug runners with a non-slip backing on them by the foot, so if you wanted to get Sophie to go somewhere in the house, making her a path there with the runner could work for you. They have a variety of colors and styles, so you can probably find one that won't clash with your decor.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 12:18PM
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I know of pit bulls, boxers and even doxies that sleep outside all year in a town that gets into the minus teens every winter.

As long as the dogs have a place out of the wind with a sleeping spot insulated from the cold ground - like those "dog-gloos" - they will be fine. It should be barely big enough for them to get into and turn around, and not more than a few inches taller than they are, to retain body heat.

"Outside" dogs get acclimated to the changing temperatures gradually, so cold nights are much easier for them than it would be if a house pooch accidentally got left out.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 10:10AM
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